This has been an exciting year for Asian American music fans. Taking off above a bubbling community of AAPI singer-songwriters and individual performers, we’ve seen Bruno Mars, who’s of Filipino and Puerto Rican descent (and born and raised in Hawai’i) hit the top of the charts with “Just the Way You Are,” and Far East Movement, the first-ever all Asian American group (Korean, Chinese, Filipino and Japanese), bust out of Los Angeles’ Koreatown and also top the charts with its catchy electro-hip hop dance single “Like a G6.”
The song was certified Double-Platinum this week by the Recording Industry Association of America, which means it’s sold and impressive two million copies. That’s a pretty cool accomplishment for a group of pals from K-town. Their big break was being included on the soundtrack of director Justin Lin’s “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift,” and their music’s shown up on various TV shows. Earlier this week I even caught “Like a G6” blasting in the background during a nightclub scene of “CSI: Miami.”
The group’s third album, “Free Wired,” is still on its upward curve, and the second single, the ballad “Rocketeer,” is going strong, featuring Denver native Ryan Tedder as a guest vocalist.
For Colorado fans who may have miss FM when they played in Denver, the group will be playing at CU-Boulder in the spring.
KCUV-FM in Denver is celebrating the official kickoff of summer by recreating the sound of Denver’s FM radio from 1967, complete with news items, radio commercials from back then, and typical playlsists, all presented by the airstaff of progressive radio from the time, including guys like Bill Clarke (who’s on Channel 7 now but came to Denver in the ’60s as an early Top 40 and progrock radio jock), and Thom Trunnell (wow, that’s a name I hadn’t heard in 25 years, from KFML days).
It’s very strange hearing Clarke, who’s on now through 10 am, talking as if the news is happening now, and griping about the cold rainy weather for July 21, 1967 (it’s hot in reality today, and reporting about the Monterey Pop festival as if it just ended the previous week.
It’s going on all day. Kinda weird, but interesting. I’ll tune in all day just to hear strangeness they pull out of the hat.
I grew up â€“ like all baby boomers â€“ during an era of radio when the Top 40 format was perfected during the first two decade of rock and roll, and genres didnâ€™t divide up into separate formats. An entire generation of pop music fans pretty much grew up listening to a wild mix of rock, soul, country â€“ white and black â€“ with a lot of novelty songs thrown in for good measure.
This was true through the 1960s, certainly and also up through the mid-â€˜70s. But two things happened to radio between, say 1969 and 1974. First, the FM progressive or freeform format that had emerged in 1967 began attracting the older rock music fans, and for the first time, after 1969, there was a defined generation gap. If you were in college and protesting the Vietnam war, chances were the Archiesâ€™ â€œSugar Sugarâ€ wasnâ€™t as relevant to you as, say, Ten Years Afterâ€™s â€œIâ€™d Love to Change the World.â€ For me, being just 11 during the summer of 1969, bubblegum rock was a sweet and welcome part of my musical diet.
There was a lot of crossover between FM and AM, especially during the early â€˜70s. For instance songs like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Youngâ€™s â€œOhioâ€ was a hit on AM as well as FM stations. Continue reading →